“I” versus “we”
When I write, I like to use the term “we” or “you” but never “I.”
“I” says that the subject affects me and me alone.
“We” includes me in the collective human population and says I am not alone.
“You” relieves me from all responsibility and allows safe discussion of difficult concepts.
This post, I will use “I.”
Growing up as a child I did not feel loved. I did not feel love-able, I did not feel desirable, I did not feel liked and I did not feel “OK” as I was. I let that feeling seep into my soul and reside there deep beneath all of the positive affirmations, motivational statements and make-up coated faces I have been presenting to the world.
It wasn’t until this year that I realized I never resolved my issues, I only masked them and buried them.
The problem with burying my insecurities is that when they started to come back up they did so like violent emesis. As I have refused to acknowledge problems related to my self-worth, they are forcing themselves into my consciousness at an inconvenient time with a fury that paralyzes me and ruins every part of my reality.
The only option left for me has become resolution.
I found the following poem by Mary Oliver in New and Selected Poems Volume One (1992).
My favorite part, is the second quatrain:
“Now of all voyagers I remember, who among them
Did not board ships with grief among their maps?-
Till it seemed men never go somewhere, there only leave
Wherever they are when, the dying begins.”
Mary Oliver, No Voyage
The poem struck me because it pointed out that grief and loss are the great motivators of men and voyagers. Without grief and loss, man does not board ship, he stays where he is to bask in the peacefulness of his present.
Anyone that has ever made a decision or changed direction in their lives, had to have experienced “the dying.”
Knowing that all of us have made decisions and changed directions at one point in our lives means knowing that all of us have experienced “the dying.”
Therefore “I” can not be alone in this feeling.
Brené Brown in The Power of Vulnerability, talks about what it means to be “whole-hearted.” She states that we only have the capacity to love others only as much as we love ourselves. She goes on to say that a vast minority of the “whole-hearted” were raised without shame and taught to look at the world in a more productive way.
This means that the majority of them were forced to “board ships” and travel to a place where they chose not to experience it any longer. So, they are not magical or fortunate, they are just determined to live a better life.
I believe success is achieved by ordinary people with extraordinary determination.
Are we not all “ordinary people” with extraordinary determination to mold and perfect our raw perceived talents?
I don’t want to blame anyone for my shortcomings. I don’t want to point fingers at those that I feel should have taught me how to love myself. If they were unable to teach it, they were unable to feel it at the time and therefore cannot be held accountable. They did not possess it so they could not give it.
I just want to board my ship and leave it behind.
Leave behind the demons that whisper to me that I am a fraud. I am less than I claim to be. I am doomed to fail. I am not worthy of what I seek. I am an individual alone in a world of colonies that would burn me at the stake if they knew what I was, what I am.
Who’s to say that I do not deserve love any more or less than the next person. It is never too late to start believing that I am worthy of love and belonging. It is never too late to appreciate the pieces of myself that I have been pushing into the background.
I always told myself that I love myself but I do not trust myself.
I do not trust myself to do what needs to be done. I do not trust that I can make the harder choice during times of strife.
Trust cannot exist without love.
My problem is and always has been faith and trust. My track record for making the right decisions hasn’t been satisfactory. I have given in to unhealthy vices to get me through my darkest hours. I have settled for the available rather than being patient for the “best fit” options. I have developed little control over my childish impulses. I do not stomach discomfort long enough to bask in the relief but instead relieve the pain via vessels that cause more pain in the future.
I have to trust that I am capable of withstanding life’s obstacles and that I am enough.
“To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.”
I have to trust that I can allow myself to float without grasping.
Few are given the easy road in life towards internal peace and salvation. Most of us are given the weaponry needed to fight our inner demons and whenever possible, the charm needed to make peace with them.
Sometimes I feel as though I were given a knife in a gun fight in this regard, but I could have been given nothing at all.
Eventually the storm will settle and I will have made significant strides towards a more peaceful existence. Until then, I have to accept that I am a voyager searching for the lighthouse that will bring me safely home.